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Build requirements (Installing from source)
For building Rakudo you need at least a C compiler, a "make" utility,
and Perl 5.8 or newer. To automatically obtain and build Parrot you
may also need a a git client, which is also needed for fetching the
test suite.
Building rakudo can take up to 1G of memory when compiling for the
parrot runtime.
In order to fully support Unicode, you'll also want to have the ICU
library installed (<>). Rakudo can run
without ICU, but some Unicode-related features do not work properly.
To get readline support (command history and editing), you'll also
need the "libreadline-dev" library.
As an example, on Debian GNU/Linux or Ubuntu Linux, the necessary
components for building Rakudo can be installed via the command
aptitude install make gcc libicu-dev libreadline-dev git-core
(Perl is installed by default already). To enable parallel testing you
also need the CPAN module Test::Harness in version 3.16 or newer; you
can control the number of parallel jobs with the "TEST_JOBS" environment
Building and invoking Rakudo
If you're wanting the bleeding-edge version of the Rakudo Perl 6
compiler, we recommend downloading Rakudo directly from Github
and building it from there.
$ git clone git://
If you don't have git installed, you can get a tarball or zip of Rakudo
from <>. Then unpack the
tarball or zip.
If you already have cloned Rakudo from github, you can get (pull) the
most recent version from github like this:
$ cd rakudo
$ git pull
Once you have an up-to-date copy of Rakudo, build it as follows:
$ cd rakudo
$ perl --gen-parrot
$ make
This will create a "perl6" or "perl6.exe" executable in the current
(rakudo) directory. Note that if you have multiple (Perl 5) "perl"s in
your path, you may need to use a fully qualified path to the appropriate
executable (or update your PATH environment variable).
Programs can then be run from the build directory using a command like:
$ ./perl6
Important: To run Rakudo from outside the build directory, you must run
$ make install
This will install the "perl6" (or "perl6.exe" binary on windows) into
the "install/bin" directory locally, no additional root
privileges necessary.
The "--gen-parrot" above option tells to automatically
download and build the most appropriate version of NQP and Parrot
into local "nqp/" and "parrot/" subdirectories, install NQP and Parrot
into the "install/" subdirectory, and use them for building Rakudo.
It's okay to use the "--gen-parrot" option on later invocations of; the configure system will re-build NQP and/or Parrot
only if a newer version is needed for whatever version of Rakudo
you're working with.
If you already have Parrot installed, you can use
"--with-parrot=/path/to/bin/parrot" to use it instead of
building a new one. This installed Parrot must include its
development environment. Similarly, if you already have NQP
installed, you can specify "--with-nqp=/path/to/bin/nqp"
to use it. (Note that this must be NQP, not the NQP-rx that
comes with Parrot.)
The versions of any already installed NQP or Parrot binaries must
satify a minimum specified by the Rakudo being built --
and "make" will verify this for you. Released versions of Rakudo
always build against the latest release of Parrot; checkouts of
Rakudo's HEAD revision from Github often require a version of Parrot
that is newer than the most recent Parrot monthly release.
Once built, Rakudo's "make install" target will install Rakudo and its
libraries into the directories specified by the Parrot installation
used to create it. Until this step is performed, the "perl6"
executable created by "make" above can only be reliably run from
the root of Rakudo's build directory. After "make install" is
performed, the installed executable can be run from any directory
(as long as the Parrot installation that was used to create it
remains intact).
If the Rakudo compiler is invoked without an explicit script to run, it
enters a small interactive mode that allows Perl 6 statements to be
executed from the command line.
See the manual page ("docs/running.pod") for more about command-line
Build/install problems
Occasionally, there may be problems when building/installing Rakudo.
Make sure you have a backup of any custom changes you have done to the
source tree before performing the following steps:
Try to remove the "install/" subdirectory:
$ cd rakudo
$ rm -r install
$ git pull
$ perl --gen-parrot
$ make
Or, in case you are really stuck, start with a fresh source tree:
$ rm -r rakudo
$ git clone git://
Running the test suite
Entering "make test" will run a small test suite that comes bundled with
Rakudo. This is a simple suite of tests, designed to make sure that the
Rakudo compiler is basically working and that it's capable of running a
simple test harness.
Running "make spectest" will import the official Perl 6 test suite from
the "roast" repository <> and run all
of these tests that are currently known to pass.
If you want to automatically submit the results of your spectest run to
a central server, use "make spectest_smolder" instead. You need the
Perl 5 module TAP::Harness::Archive and an active internet connection
for that. The smoke results are collected at
At present we do not have any plans to directly store the official test
suite as part of the Rakudo repository, but will continue to fetch it
from the roast repository. Releases of Rakudo get a snapshot of
the roast repository as of the time of the release.
You can also use "make" to run an individual test from the command line:
$ make t/spec/S29-str/ucfirst.t
t/spec/S29-str/ucfirst.rakudo ..
ok 1 - simple
ok 2 - empty string
ok 3 - # SKIP unicode
ok 4 - # SKIP unicode
All tests successful.
Files=1, Tests=4, 1 wallclock secs ( 0.02 usr 0.00 sys + 0.57 cusr 0.06 csys = 0.65 CPU)
Result: PASS
If you want to run the tests in parallel, you need to install a fairly
recent version of the Perl 5 module Test::Harness (3.16 works for sure).
Spectest smolder requirements (Windows)
You need recent version of either Strawberry Perl or ActiveState Perl.
If you are working with ActiveState Perl you need the Mingw gcc compiler.
You need msys git installed and you need "\Program Files\Git\cmd" on your
execution path and NOT "\Program Files\Git\bin".
You need a win32 curl program.
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